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Magura v. Colvin

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

September 29, 2016

TIM MAGURA, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          PAUL R. CHERRY, MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by Plaintiff Tim Magura on August 3, 2015, and Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Reversing the Decision of the Commissioner of Social Security [DE 18], filed by Plaintiff on February 5, 2016. Plaintiff requests that the Court reverse the December 18, 2014 decision of the Appeals Council denying him disability insurance benefits and make a direct award of benefits or remand for further proceedings. For the following reasons, the Court grants the request to remand for further proceedings.

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On July 23, 2012, Plaintiff Tim Magura filed an application for disability insurance benefits, alleging disability beginning June 20, 2006. The claim was denied initially and on reconsideration. On April 4, 2014, a hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Dennis R. Kramer. Plaintiff amended his alleged onset date to July 15, 2008. On May 5, 2014, the ALJ issued a decision finding that (1) Plaintiff was disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act from July 15, 2008, through November 30, 2010, (2) on December 1, 2010, medical improvement occurred that is related to ability to work and Plaintiff was able to perform substantial gainful activity until a date certain in December 2011, and (3) Plaintiff was again disabled, this time by operation of law on the date in December 2011 based upon non-mechanical application of the framework of the grid rules. The ALJ made the following findings:

1. The claimant met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through June 30, 2012.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the amended alleged onset date.
3. Since the amended alleged onset date of disability, July 15, 2008, the claimant has had the following severe impairments: a history of lumbar fusions with an unstable lumbar spine, Barret's esophagus, a hiatal hernia, and a history of a left upper extremity forearm fracture.
4. From July 15, 2008, the amended alleged onset date, through November 30, 2010, the claimant's lumbar spine impairment medically equaled Listing 1.04 in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
5. The claimant was under a disability, as defined by the Social Security Act, from July 15, 2008 through November 30, 2010.
6. The claimant has not developed any new impairment or impairments since December 1, 2010, the date the claimant's disability ended. Thus, the claimant's current severe impairments are the same as those present from July 15, 2008 through November 30, 2010.
7. Since December 1, 2010, the claimant has not had an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
8. Medical improvement occurred as of December 1, 2010, the date the claimant's disability ended.
9. The medical improvement that has occurred is related to the ability to work because the claimant no longer has an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of a listing.
10. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that since December 1, 2010, the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) except that he can continuously and frequently lift and carry up to ten pounds, occasionally lift and carry up to fifteen pounds, sit for two hours at a time, stand/walk for thirty minutes at a time, sit for six hours in an eight-hour workday, stand/walk for a combination of two hours in an eight-hour workday with all walking being at a slow pace without the need for use of a cane, he cannot walk a block at a reasonable pace on a rough or uneven surface, he can frequently reach, handle, finger, feel, push, and pull with the bilateral upper extremities, frequently operate foot controls with the feet, never climb ladders, ropes, scaffolds, ramps, or stairs, balance, stoop, crouch, or crawl, occasionally kneel, and he is further limited to work which never requires exposure to vibration, unprotected heights, moving mechanical parts, or operation of a commercial vehicle, requires no more than occasional exposure to extreme cold or heat, no concentrated exposure to dust, odors, fumes and pulmonary irritants, and no more than moderate exposure to noise.
11. Since December 1, 2010, the claimant has been unable to perform any past relevant work.
12. From December 1, 2010 until December [ ], 2011, the claimant was a younger individual age 45-49. Applying the age categories non-mechanically, and considering the additional adversities in this case, on December [ ], 2011, the claimant's age category changed to an individual closely approaching advanced age.
13. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English.
14. From December 1, 2010 to December [ ], 2011, transferability of job skills is not material to the determination of disability because using the Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding that the claimant is “not disabled” whether or not the claimant has transferable job skills. Beginning on December [ ], 2011, the claimant has not been able to transfer job skills to other occupations.
15. From December 1, 2010 to December [ ], 2011, the date the claimant's age category changed, considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there were jobs that existed in significant numbers in ...

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